The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) said that it is not destroying its iconic towers in Bulawayo, but rather “upgrading them”.
This follows calls by the city’s residents for ZESA to spare the towers as they hold a monumental value to the city.
Bulawayo reportedly got its nickname KoNtuthuziyathunqa (The Place with Smoke that Bellows) from the steaming towers.
In a tweet published on Wednesday, The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association pleaded with the power utility not to demolish the structures. It wrote:
ZESA is planning on demolishing these iconic Bulawayo towers as part of their upgrading process. These towers hold a monumental value to the city and ZESA should consider preserving them as they are a significant historic image of Bulawayo.
However, ZESA claimed that it does not intend to destroy all the six cooling towers. Only two will be destroyed to create space for a modern, huge one.
ZESA said that a revamped Bulawayo Power Plant will generate 90 MW against the current meagre 18 MW.
Responding to the concerns raised by Bulawayo residents, Fullard Gwasira, the ZESA spokesperson said:
The upgrade requires a bigger cooling tower and because there is no space for a new cooling tower, two will have to be removed to make way for one big tower.
It’s not demolishing. When you say demolishing, it’s a wrong word. It’s upgrading. When you demolish one or two to make for a bigger one, that’s not demolishing.
It makes way for a modern one because to increase generating capacity, you need a bigger unit.